King George III spent five weeks in Cheltenham to drink its medicinal waters. As a result, several more Royal parties came down to Cheltenham in the late 18th century, and the spa town exploded in popularity as a fashionable destination.
One of the first purpose-built hotels in Europe, Queens Hotel was built on the site of the old Sherborne Spa, meeting the demands for appropriate lodgings from higher echelons of society of the time. The hotel was declared then, as now, as ‘one of the noblest buildings of its kind in Europe’.
A fine example of neo-classical architecture, with its imposing white façade of Roman temple scale, tall Corinthian order columns, carved cornices and Georgian windows, the hotel was one of a number of imposing landmarks conceived by Robert Jearrad and his brother Charles, who modelled the hotel on the Temple of Jupiter in Rome.
Queens Hotel was opened on the 21st of July 1838, named in honour of Queen Victoria whose coronation fell in the same year. While she has predominantly retained her purpose as a fine hotel, gratified by the visits of such eminent figures as General Sir Charles Napier, Edward Elgar and Sir Arthur Conon Doyle, she has also served as a social refuge for women in WW1 and a military hospital.
The hotel has been listed as a Grade II English Heritage building since 1955. It retains many of its original features including the wallpaper designed by Pugin, a key figure in nineteenth century architecture and design. Guests will also be delighted to encounter the hotel’s towering Georgian staircase, drawing guests upward over the remarkable crowned glass roof.
Renamed Queens, the entire hotel has recently undergone a complete restoration, revitalizing her timeless richness, and reimagining her comforts with the latest technologies in preparation for a new chapter in her majestic history.